By Mashudu Netsianda
Government has relaxed the curfew to 8pm and business hours to 4.30pm and directed public transport drivers to undergo regular Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests as well as ensuring that separate lanes for Zupco buses and kombis are created at roadblocks to expedite their passage.
Last month, President Mnangagwa announced a night curfew from 6pm to 6am for all but essential services and a retreat to 8am to 3pm working hours for exempted businesses along with criminalisation of deliberate or reckless transmission of Covid-19.
Cabinet also agreed to adopt the template used in the June 2020 examinations in terms of the holding of the final examinations in November/December.
In view of the surge in positive local cases, Cabinet approved guidelines to help families manage Covid-19 cases at home.
Furthermore, in order to curtail the spike in infections, Government noted that Zimbabwe requires a more robust testing regime.
In this regard, Cabinet directed that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Innovation Science and Technology Development, through the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), works on the production of PCR primers and viral transport media.
In order to strengthen the National Covid-19 response, some of the measures to be taken include constituting a technical steering committee with experts from all the sectors involved in the response.
The committee will have clearly defined terms of reference. The Covid-19 response is to be merged into a single response plan comprising the Command Centre, Office of the Covid-19 Chief Coordinator and Ministry of Health and Child Care.
In a media briefing last night, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in coming up with the new resolutions, Government noted the plight of the public and the need to lessen the risk of contracting Covid-19.
“Having noted the plight of the public and the need to lessen the risk of contracting Covid-19, Cabinet directed that the business hours which were ending at 3pm be revisited to end at 4.30pm and the curfew to be extended to 8pm. Public transport drivers will undergo regular Covid-19 PCR tests and public transport buses be allowed a dedicated lane at roadblocks to expedite their passage,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet has further directed that immigrants who are PCR negative on arrival will no longer be detained but be put on home quarantine and reviews will be conducted by the Rapid Response Teams in that locality. Those who test positive on arrival will be placed in quarantine centres.
As of Monday, the cumulative rapid screening and PCR tests conducted are 183 163 (99 651 RDT and 83 51299 (PCR).
The country now has 5 308 confirmed Covid-19 cases while the cumulative number of confirmed cases has risen by 30 percent from the previously reported 4 075 to 5 308 positive cases. “Cabinet notes with satisfaction that the number of those recovered from Covid-19 has increased by 279 percent from 1016 to 3 848. Cabinet regrets to note that the number of deaths has risen by 93 percent from 70 to 135 and advises that no effort is being spared to ensure that the pandemic is contained,” she said.
“Regarding primary and secondary education, Cabinet notes that the sector is continuing with its preparations for the re-opening of schools for final examination classes. The developed and approved guidelines that were put in place for the June 2020 examinations will be used for the holding of the final examinations in November/December.” The Chronicle